Help With Sleep

Got Sleep?

Insufficient sleep is linked to several chronic conditions. These include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression. According to the CDC, adults require around 7-8 hours of sleep per night (this is a generalization and may vary person-to-person). For many college students, this may seem like an unreasonable amount to expect: what with homework assignments, midterms, jobs and trying to still remain social all at one time, sleep can easily be put on the back burner. However, too little sleep for too long a period of time can actually hinder academic performance, so it’s important to work as hard as possible to get the recommended amount most nights.

If getting enough sleep at night isn’t possible, naps are a great way to feel more well-rested if you’re really dragging through your day. The Huffington Post wrote an article in which they consulted Michael Breus, PhD for his tips on how to best maximize naps. Here are some suggestions:

  • If you don’t have enough time for a full-cycle nap (meaning a full 90 minutes which allows your body to go into deep REM sleep) then aim to keep yours short: approximately 25-30 minutes is best. This allows you to rest without dropping into deep sleep, which is especially important if you’re looking for a nap to energize you, because when you’re woken from deep sleep without having enough time to complete the full cycle, you actually wake up more tired than you were initially.
  • Try taking a caffeine nap: try drinking a cup of coffee quickly, then taking a 20 minute nap: the caffeine should kick in immediately after you wake up which should leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
  • Make sure to not nap after 4 pm. The low point of the body’s natural circadian cycle is between noon and 4 pm, so you’re most likely to fall asleep between these hours: napping after 4 pm can lead to acute insomnia, meaning you’ll have trouble falling asleep at night.

Here is another online resource to help you with sleep:

Sleep, Stress and Memory Lab – Dr. Jessica Payne